A guide to The Great (University of) Minnesota Get-Together

  • The U of M marching band plays on the fairgrounds.
  • A fair visitor pets a goat.
  • Visitors to the fair admire a smart robot at the U of M Central Building.
  • A young visitor exchanges information with a U of M representative at the Driven to Discover Building.
  • Two 4-H ambassadors at the State Fair.
  • Four women with bags and props outside the Driven to Discover Building.
  • Two students use a telescope at the fair outside the U of M Central Building.
  • U of M students serve customers at the Gopher Dairy Bar.
  • Bev Durgan stands to a young woman holding a large bunny at the State Fair.
  • A member of the University of Minnesota Marching Band points at the camera.

You'll find University of Minnesota attractions, excitement, and refreshments all around the fair (see the slide show above), from the U of M Central and Driven to Discover Buildings to the Dairy Barn and Miracle of Birth Center.

Nowhere in Minnesota can you indulge (or over-stimulate) your senses like at the Minnesota State Fair. And in case you hadn’t noticed, the University of Minnesota is deeply embedded in the fair culture. Here are 12 U of M attractions to take in while you’re there! See a complete lineup of events at our State Fair website.

12. Contribute to discovery! At the Driven to Discover Building, you can partake in a research study lasting no more than 30 minutes. You’ll be a part of U of M research in a fun, innovative, and convenient setting, and you won’t even need to remove your fanny pack (see attraction #1). Driven to Discover Building.

11. Turf and garden advice. Each day of the fair, you can talk with Turf Research Program experts about types of grass that can reduce your inputs of time, water, and energy, and with our Master Gardeners about your yard and gardening questions. CFANS wing in Agricultural/Horticulture Building.

10. Gopher Athletics. Come see Paul Bunyan's Axe on display—finally at home after an extended exile in Madison—and other championship and game trophies. There will be a wingspan chart and giant ruler to see how you size up to some of our student-athletes. And take a photo while visiting the booth for a chance to win prizes. U of M Central Building.

9. Extension and 4-H. When you’re at the fair, don’t miss the many opportunities to connect with on-the-ground U of M Extension faculty and staff who impact our lives every day. And at the 4-H Building, check out the more-than 7,000 exhibits, workshops, and hands-on demonstrations by 4-H’ers statewide.

8. Discover Minnesota’s geology. U of M Professor and State Geologist Harvey Thorleifson will be on hand on Aug. 22 throughout the day to help people understand geology and to answer questions. Learn how geology not only explains why Minnesota has so many lakes, but also controls our drinking water supply and shapes our landscape as a whole. U of M Central Building.

7. Do the robot. On Aug. 29, come and see a variety of robots built by college students and learn about STEM opportunities for students of all ages. There will be robots of all sizes at the booth, including Bot Shot—a basketball-shooting robot featured at the men’s NCAA Final Four—and Lego robots that you can drive yourself! U of M Central Building.

6. Operation: UMR campus. Discover educational opportunities in Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota Rochester (the University of Minnesota’s newest system campus). While you’re learning, play a life-sized version of the game Operation for prizes and giveaways. Aug. 23, Aug. 25, Aug. 30, Aug. 31, Sept. 1, and Sept. 2. U of M Central Building.

5. Women in math. Learn how to appreciate math in our everyday lives at this exhibit on Aug. 29. There will be interactive activities, games, and tricks for fairgoers to learn about symmetry and patterns in mathematics. Try your hand at origami and spirographs to create fun drawings that you can take home. U of M Central Building.

4. See a miracle! Watch as U of M veterinary students and faculty work with veterinarians from across the state to assist with the births of some 200 calves, lambs, goats, and piglets during the State Fair’s 12 days. Staffed by volunteers with FFA and the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association, this is one of the most popular free exhibits at the fair. Miracle of Birth Center.

3. Pride on Maroon and Gold Day. Check out the University of Minnesota Marching Band on Maroon and Gold Day (Sept. 1) as its members stride, strut, and energize fairgoers during the parade from 2-2:45 p.m. President Joan Gabel and Goldy Gopher will be there, too.

2. Gopher Dairy Bar. Swing by the Dairy Bar for a cool shake or a refreshing glass of milk. The bar is operated by students, and proceeds benefit student activities. It’s a win-win. Cattle Barn.

1. Giveaways! Next to “fair,” everyone’s favorite four-letter word is free! Despite their name, fanny packs are cool again, and we’re giving them away each day at the U of M Central Building. Speaking of cool, stop by the U of M System booth to pick up a fan representing your favorite campus mascot! U of M Central Building.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities